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Robert Riskin

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Biography

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Screenwriter, Play Author
Born:
March 30, 1897 in New York City, NY
Death:
September 20, 1955 in California
Biography
Screenwriter Robert Riskin entered the film business as a teenager, at a time (1914) when anyone with a glimmer of talent was allowed to work on what were then called scenarios. During the 1920's, Robertson kept busy on Broadway, penning such popular plays as Illicit and Bless You Sister. On the Columbia Pictures payroll in 1931, Riskin found himself adapting many of his own works for the screen -- including Bless You Sister, which ended up as the Frank Capra production The Miracle Woman. Riskin and Capra liked each other's work, and, as a result, Riskin contributed the wisecracking dialogue for Capra's Platinum Blonde (1931). Future Riskin/Capra collaborations included American Madness (1932), Lady for a Day (1933), It Happened One Night (1934) (which won Riskin an Oscar), Broadway Bill (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936), Lost Horizon (1937) and You Can't Take It With You (1938). Free of their Columbia contracts in 1941, Riskin and Capra formed their own production company to put together Meet John Doe. In later years, Capra would sometimes comment that he'd often have to tone down Riskin's Manhattan-bred cynicism; it's also likely that Riskin may have bristled at Capra's tendency to take all the credit for his collaborators' contributions. In 1937, Riskin ventured into directing for the first and last time with the Grace Moore musical When You're In Love (1937). In 1942, he married actress Fay Wray, who later put her own career on hold to nurse Riskin through a debilitating (and eventually fatal) neurological illness. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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